Office for the Aging Warns About Scams Aimed at Seniors

OSWEGO – The Oswego County Office for the Aging is warning seniors to be aware of phone scams where the resident is asked to wire money to help a relative who is “in trouble.”

“We have recently received reports from seniors who have received suspicious phone calls from people asking them to wire money,” said Larry Schmidt, Director of the Oswego County Office for the Aging. “These scams have several common elements: An ‘emergency’ call for financial help for something such as a car crash, medical emergency, or trouble with the law. This is followed by a request to send thousands of dollars by wire transfer using something like Western Union. There is usually a request to keep the call confidential, and not to tell parents or other family members.”

Anyone who receives such a phone call should immediately report it to their local police.

“Seniors were raised in a different time and often are very trusting,” said Schmidt. “I encourage them to be skeptical, ask questions, and to share concerns on problems with trusted family members.”

Schmidt said the Federal Bureau of Investigation lists several warning signs of telemarketing fraud.

The caller may tell a person:

You must act now or the offer won’t be good.

You have won a free gift, vacation, or prize, but you have to pay for postage and handling or other charges.

You must send money, give a credit card or bank account number, or have a check picked up by courier.

You don’t need to check out the company with anyone, including your family, lawyer, accountant, Better Business Bureau, or consumer protection agency.

You don’t need any written information about their company or their references.

You can’t afford to miss this ‘high-profit, no-risk’ offer.

For additional information on scams and frauds, visit the FBI web site at